PARENTS - YOU'RE DOING A GREAT JOB.

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PARENTS - YOU'RE DOING A GREAT JOB.

Parenting can be a pretty humbling gig.
Either you’re at the stage where you are constantly wiping your child’s butt and have snot scraped across your clothes or you’re at the stage where your child vocally shares their distain in your fashion sense, parenting decisions and music taste, making you feel 100 years old.

Whatever your stage of parenting, we know it can be a tough and thankless job at times, but we know you’re turning up everyday and putting your child’s needs above your own, and we think that is EPIC.
No matter how well you feel you are doing, we think you’re doing a GREAT JOB!

To remind you of what an incredible impact your everyday actions are having on your children and teenagers, we have put together some of the research about the impacts of parenting:
The stats don’t lie!:

  1. Talking:
    For some parents that may sound so ordinary that it could hardly make a difference, and for other parents with reserved and introverted teenagers, that may sound incredibly difficult. Whatever your relationship with your child, your everyday conversations with them are game changers.


    Research says, “Students whose parents regularly talked to them were two-thirds of a school-year ahead in science, and even after accounting for social background, the advantage remains at one-third of a school year.” (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-39577514)

    What may seem like just a casual conversation about their day, is a great opportunity for your teenager to process what is going on in their world and even ask your advice when they need it. When casual conversations are the norm in your relationship, they are far more comfortable to bring up difficult subjects and seek support when they are struggling with school, relationships, emotions etc.

  2. Belonging:
    By just being there for your children and giving them a place they belong (whether they seem as though they like belonging to your family or not), you are providing them with security that studies have found decreases the likelihood of the onset of chronic disease, disability, mental illness, and death. (http://www.uniteforsight.org/gender-power/module1#_ftn1)

    They may not always be openly proud to share your last name and postal address in public, but the fact that they have a family to come home to and be known by, is doing more than you know to protect them physically, mentally and emotionally!

  3. Encouraging:
    It may seem like water off a duck’s back when you encourage your child or teenager and tell them how much you believe in them. They may shrug it off and make you feel like you’re annoying and embarrassing, but your encouragement is actually shaping their views of themselves and giving them the confidence to face each day.

    Research shows that girls’ whose parents remind them to trust their abilities are 21% less likely to report feeling anxious about school. (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-39577514).

    When they tell you how badly they did in a test or share their disappointment in a performance, your response, positive or negative, is informing their inner voice. Keep up that encouragement and support, whether you get a good reaction from them or not!


    As you can see, even your simplest, ordinary and everyday actions are bringing out the best in your child or teenager and until the day they work that out and thank you, we are here to say ‘keep up the good work!’

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HELP YOUR TEENAGER GET A JOB.

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HELP YOUR TEENAGER GET A JOB.

They live under your roof, you feed them, you buy them clothes and yet they still come asking you for more money to buy bubble tea and Yeezys... whenever the time is right, it is undoubtedly in everyone's best interest for your teenager to get a job! Here are a few tips for you to help them out:

Identify their strengths and the opportunities around them: While a 15 year may not have any jobs to list as work experience on a resume, there are probably some significant and relevant experiences they have had that are applicable to the kinds of job they are applying for.

It can be hard for them to make those connections sometimes and see their strengths clearly, so you are the BEST person to sit down with your teenager and go through some of their extra curricular activities that may have developed relevant skills. Some examples to think through might be sports teams they have played in that require teamwork, punctuality, the ability to work under pressure and good communication skills - all handy traits for a job in a busy restaurant. If they have served on a student council, they will have gained leadership skills, learnt how to take initiative and how to negotiate.

Another great idea is to think through any work experience they could gain through volunteering. Perhaps your child wants to get a job in fashion retail? They could gain some great experience in visual merchandising and dealing with money at your local op shop! An employer is always going to look more favourably on a resume that has consistent volunteer work over a resume with no work experience at all.

Side note: what a. great excuse for you to be able to tell your teenager how great they are without them shrugging you off and walking away!

Clean up the digital footprint: This can be an interesting conversation with your teenager, but also a really important one!

If you haven’t had a good chat about what your teenager is posting online, then now is as good a time as any to discuss the impact of what we share online and how we can lose control of our images when we post them online. Here are some good questions to ask when thinking about applying for a job:

1. Would you be comfortable with a future employer seeing the kinds of photos you post online (ie. how you are dressed, how you are posing and what you are doing?)

2. Are you proud of the photos you are you tagged in?

3. Would you be comfortable speaking to a future employer in the same way you comment and write captions online? If the answers are no or unsure, then that gives you a pretty good idea of what might need to be taken down, regardless of whether a future employer would google them or not.

For a broader chat around e-safety, the Australian Government have some great resources here.


Pre prepare examples for the interview: Workplaces love to ask for examples of times you have solved a problem, made a mistake or worked in a team.

Sit down with your teenager and help them identify some examples of those kind of scenarios and then get them to practice explaining the example to you. An interviewer will be looking for an example of how they responded and a lesson they learnt. This is a great opportunity for your teenager to demonstrate values of honesty, integrity, taking initiative and teachability.

Practicing them beforehand will mean they won't have to be taken off guard in the moment, especially if they are nervous!

And there you have it! As your teenager’s biggest support, your encouragement and preparation will be a gamechanger for them.

For more inside tips and activities, why not download our ‘Get a Job’ digital workbook’ to work through with your teenager!

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SUPPORTING YOUR TEENAGER THROUGH STRESS.

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SUPPORTING YOUR TEENAGER THROUGH STRESS.

The period of adolescence can be one of the most stressful and difficult periods of an individual’s life. As a critical development period, adolescence is where a child is transitioning to adulthood, that already sounds overwhelming! They are faced with new responsibilities, physical and hormonal changes, and their focus shifts from parents to peers. Which usually means everything you did before now becomes embarrassing for them. If you are observing changes of behaviour and mood, here is some information that may help in identifying and managing stress caused by developmental changes and lifestyle factors. 

The point of stress is to shift our body into a rapid response, to a stimulus. Some stress can be beneficial for us, depending on what the trigger is.  The type of stress we want to be aware of is chronic stress.

Acute stress is experienced only for a short period such as having a test or a job interview. This type of stress can be beneficial and can help us to prepare for challenges. If acute stress is experienced on a single incident that is traumatic, this can cause mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress.

Chronic stress on the other hand can be cumulative and build over time. Chronic stress is when our body is experiencing a stress response for a long period of time. This can be due to external issues such as work or worry about a certain situation. Situations such as isolation, relationship issues, physical health concerns, caring for someone, overworking or being in a stressful environment means that we may be experiencing a prolonged stress response. Sometimes when we have not had any opportunity to recover or process an event and something else happens, this can cause compounded stress.

When we experience an event which causes a stress response, our body releases adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones increase our heart rate, blood pressure and muscles tension. Our metabolism also speeds up, and our senses are heightened. We are ready to respond rapidly and effectively. Over time this stress response can cause the following physical symptoms:

·       Heart palpitations

·       Fatigue

·       Sleep disturbances

·       Upset stomach

·       Frequent headaches

·       Muscular aches

·       Lowered immune system

And psychologically:

·       Fear

·       Worry

·       Anger

·       Tearfulness

·       Irritability

·       Anxiety

·       Difficulty with memory

·       A sense of being overwhelmed

Long term stress, in conjunction with a lack of coping mechanisms, or unhealthy coping skills can lead to potentially negative results. As parents you hold a valuable role where you can model positive coping behaviours for your children.  As children and teenagers develop they will look to you for how you overcame certain difficulties and how you manage stress. It may also mean you can create an environment in your home that is open to conversations about stress. Throughout this developmental period, adolescents are individuating from their parents to find their own sense of identity. This can mean it is difficult to know what may be going on for them as they can be closed off to sharing with you. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you might be wanting to support a young person through stressful situations:

Find out what is causing the stress. Is it something that can be changed such as perceived pressure or expectations? Social relationships and life issues can seem trivial but may also be easily changed.

Focus on building resilience. Resilience is an internal feeling that is built on overcoming adverse experiences and with a positive outcome. This is something that can be built over time and through various methods. Reflect their strengths and encourage them to do activities they enjoy and are good at. This will build their sense of self-esteem. Positively affirm them when they have had a big success.

Encourage physical activity. Joining in sports and similar pro social activities will have positive impacts on stress levels and mood. Physical activity can reduce our physiological stress responses along with the social factor which can cause an individual to feel connected and develop a positive support network.

Sleep. Encouraging a regular sleep pattern is imperative for the brain to restore and repair the impacts of stress. This can be done by creating a routine around sleep times during the week, this way the body will learn to expect it. When we try and sleep and our mind is in overdrive this only exacerbates stress and can cause rumination of all the issues that are stressing us out. It is important to have a pre-sleep routine, which may start an hour or half an hour before bed. Things such as reducing screen time, herbal tea, a hot shower, reading and anything that will assist to wind down physically and mentally.

Talk to someone. It is important to identify what the stressors are and put strategies in place to reduce them. When young people are stressed, they can feel they are isolated and alone. They may even question their self-confidence in being able to manage. It is important they find connection. It may be that this is from a professional or from friends.

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Mabel Rolt - Director of See Counselling

 

Find out more about See Counselling and their services:

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RAISING A 'FAIL PROOF' TEENAGER.

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RAISING A 'FAIL PROOF' TEENAGER.

How great would it be to ‘fail-proof’ our children?!

Failure generally has all of these negative connotations. Often, in our own lives it has been something that we want to hide and avoid, something to feel ashamed of.

Sometimes out of love for our children, we can inadvertently communicate that fear of failure to them as we try to protect them from the pain we have known all too well. When the rubber hits the road though, we know that some of our biggest failures have been the making of us.

When we talk about ‘fail-proofing’ our children, we’re not suggesting that anyone should be capable of raising a child that never fails, we’re talking about raising children who see failure as a speed bump rather than a roadblock. We want to raise resilient children who understand failure to be an opportunity to grow rather than something to avoid and hide.

Here are some tips that come from the Failing Well workshop IZRA runs in Primary and Secondary schools.

1. Redefine failure

To raise ‘fail proof’ children, we have to change the way we talk about failure. Rather than failure being something that you give your children lots of sympathy for or show disappointment in, when we frame our response as encouragement for their effort and excitement in what they can learn, then it doesn’t have to be a sad occasion.

While we want to give weight to what our children care about and never want to be too dismissive of their challenges, we also want to be deliberate about reframing the experience of failure into opportunity for growth.

When our children experience failure, let’s ask questions like ‘what did you learn for next time?’ Questions like this celebrate what can be gained from the experience and subtly infer that there will be a next time so that it is assumed they will try again!

2. Catch their language

Something we repeat over and over in our school programs is that “failure is only something that happens, never something we are,” because there is significance in the way that our children talk about themselves.

As our children respond to an event of failure, we have to watch the language they use around it and help them separate the event from their identity. When we catch them referring to themselves as a failure or as stupid/dumb/terrible at sport etc. that’s your chance to catch their language and separate the event from their identity.

When they identify as their failure or their weakness, lovingly step in and correct it, saying;

“You can’t talk like that about my son/daughter!”

“You’re not stupid, you just had the chance to learn something for next time! I'm so proud of how hard you're trying."

3. Embrace feedback

We all know that being able to receive feedback is one of the best ways to grow and develop, however it is often associated with failure and rejection.

If we want our children to see feedback as helpful, we have to watch how we respond to feedback in our personal lives, because they are always watching. Do we get defensive when they critique our cooking or when our partner makes a suggestion on how we can do something differently?

How do we talk about people at work who give us feedback?

Do we talk about feedback as if it is helpful or as if that person had no right to say that to us?

As hard as it is, our children are always watching us and our responses are shaping their feelings around feedback.

Give those tips a go and for the record - you’re doing a great job too!

Cassie Kirtisingham- Founder of IZRA

Cassie Kirtisingham- Founder of IZRA

 

To find out more about IZRA's Failing Well Resilience Workshop, watch the trailer below and visit our schools page.

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